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Convert LaTeX tables to Word

I have recently found myself needing to convert some lovely LaTeX-typeset tables into a format that MS Word can handle more gracefully than pasting in as a graphic. Kieran last year pointed to tools such as Hevea (along with a set of regular expressions—all hail—) to do the work. I’ve heard from others that tools such as latex2rtf work quite well. Both of those tools are pretty heavy duty, however (the Hevea manual is a 500K PDF which is still downloading from a slow server, and latex2rtf has a slew of config files and options), especially for my lightweight task.

For quickly making word-acceptable (ugly, but editable by your editor or colleagues) tables, I found a reasonably easy process: 1) output the table to a small standalone LaTeX file; 2) use TTH to convert the table to HTML; 3) paste the table into Word; 4) use Word’s “convert text to table” command. You’ll then have a useable table, ready for whatever formatting tweaking you want to do. This all takes about 30 seconds per table.

This has worked just fine for my purposes—specifically in this case, building a set of summary tables in R that need to be brought into a Word document (Word turned out not to handle converting into a table the text pasted straight from R). The estimable Frank Harrell has some further instructions, as well as a small wrapper script, to make TTH work with Sweave documents, too.

Production cycle

The Resident Ecologist submitted a revised manuscript to a Blackwell-published journal in early March. This was after a pretty solid couple of months of revisions in response to a first review. The revised version was sent off electronically (no multiple copies, no floppy disk in the mail) and had a positive response from the editor—it was accepted—three days later.

Two weeks later, word came that the manuscript had finished up at the copy-editor’s desk and was headed to the typesetter. This morning, a lovely page proof document was deposited in the inbox. Not bad, Science Guys, not bad at all.

I know that there are all kinds of vagaries to publishing, but it’s striking how much difference there is between journals. The article that I recently got published spent over a year in somebody’s drawer between the time it was accepted and the time I ever saw a page proof—and several more months to get to press. So, I wonder: Is this an argument in favor of gigantic publishers gobbling up journals, a difference between the publishing models of different fields, or just two remarkable outliers at each end of the continuum?


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